By Richard Rhinehart
Martinsburg WV, July 25, 2013 – A single mother who served with the Army during the early months of the Iraq War is the first female veteran recipient of a new Habitat for Humanity home built from the ground up in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. A September 7 bicycle and motorcycle ride in Martinsburg organized and directed by retired Army Sergeant Glenn Goulet will raise funds to benefit the construction of this home.
Veteran Dana Raines served as a light wheeled vehicle mechanic during her deployment in Iraq, servicing and maintaining vehicles. Following service in Germany, in 2005 she returned home to Maryland to seek employment. Single with two young children, Raines decided to move to West Virginia in search of new opportunities. Unfortunately, she became homeless as a result of her effort to provide for her family. Through the assistance of the local veterans community and two helpful social workers, Raines found a townhouse in which to live until her new home is complete.
“Habitat for Humanity is an organization of pure love,” said Raines. “I have never seen an organization such as this one.”
The September 7 ride will raise funds to support Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle and projects like Raines’ new home. Ride Director Goulet, who rode his bicycle across America in 2012 with World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Sea to Shining Sea ride and in this April’s inclusive Face of America ride from the Pentagon to Gettysburg, hopes the Habitat bicycle and motorcycle ride will become an annual event. “I am expecting at least 50 cyclists combined,” Goulet said. “I’m praying that we get more.”
Registration in the 25 mile non-competitive ride provides participants with breakfast and lunch following the ride at Martinsburg’s American Legion Post. The $25 registration fee also includes a commemorative t-shirt. The loop ride begins and ends at the Trinity United Methodist Church.
Following 7-1/2 years of active duty with the Army, Goulet medically retired after severely injuring his back. He is active with local Martinsburg organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the non-profit Apollo Civic Theatre. “I attended a veteran’s home dedication this past May and it was like a family reunion for me, because many people that helped raise money or build this home were good friends of mine,” Goulet said. “This is another way for me to deal with my PTSD while accomplishing good for others.”
“I am honored to help veterans in my community and that Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle is working to help veterans find affordable housing,” said Goulet. “Being able to help other veterans such as Dana is a blessing to me.”
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that depends on volunteers to build, renovate and repair homes. Since its founding in 1976, the international organization has helped more than 3 million people worldwide.
World T.E.A.M. Sports is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization chartered in North Carolina and headquartered in Holbrook, New York. Celebrating 20 years in 2013, World T.E.A.M. Sports has organized athletic events for disabled and able bodied citizens – mountain climbing, white water rafting, biking, and more. Four things always happen at our events: (1) Disabled participants build self-confidence and physical fitness; (2) The disabled provide a role model for other disabled citizens, encouraging them to take up physical activities; (3) The disabled become a moving inspiration to other participants and to spectators when they see that disabled individuals can meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination; and (4) The disabled and able-bodied participants learn to work as a team to overcome those challenges. World T.E.A.M. Sports changes lives through sports.
Richard Rhinehart serves as Director of Communications for World T.E.A.M. Sports.